Toy Room OrganizingKids toys can sometimes take over a space and you can feel that you live in a toy store after a hurricane goes through it. The important thing to remember when deciding on storage solutions for kids’ toys is that it has to be easy for the kids to put their things away. As a former preschool teacher I can tell you that having a dedicated spot for everything and making it easy for the kids to know where that spot is can reduce frustration, time and tears.

Cubbies and containers work well as long as they are well labelled and the containers are large enough to ‘throw’ things into. If the kids have to put all their stuff away in a secret order, like putting a puzzle together in order to get the lid to fit, they are doomed to fail. Look at any reputable daycare center and they are an Organizers DREAM- EVERYTHING has a place of its own and EVERYTHING is labelled, even the scissors have a special stand to go in. there is a reason for this, kids want and need easy to follow directions, they are empowered when they can do things on their own and by creating a space that makes this easy for them you give them power and self confidence. Much better than the constant nagging and occasional loud voices saying ‘this place is a pigsty, clean up your toys’

rubbermaid with toys storedI am partial to large Rubbermaid containers with the raise lids, they allow the kids to throw their stuff in and the lid will still go on, they also stack nicely. I had several of these containers when the kids were young, for Barbie stuff, for dress up clothes, for blocks, for Hot wheels, for…well you get my drift. I encouraged my kids to only have one of these out at a time. If they were playing Barbies then the Barbie one is out. If they went on to another activity they were expected to clean up the Barbies, cleaning takes about 2 minutes as all they had to do it put it all in one big container, they did have a few smaller containers to hold the tiny little items like Barbie shoes and accessories but those never actually worked as it was too complicated to maintain.

playroom organizationSmall cubbies work great as well as long as they are labelled or at least the containers on the cubbies are labelled. We had one that houses all my budding artists creative ‘stuff’. There are lots of different types of cubbies, ours is a metal mesh one that can be reconfigured as our needs change. We got that one at Costco. IKEA has some great ones as well and one of the best kept secrets to buying great kids toy storage solutions is any School Supply stores like Scholars Choice, they have fantastic stuff, as that is their business.

Remember to not be too hard on yourself or your kids, mess happens when they play and we should all embrace the mess DURING play time. By empowering them to be actively involved in the clean up phase you can make it fun and easy so it becomes a natural part of play. Go visit a daycare center and when it is time to clean up you will hear laughter, singing and cooperation. The kids love it almost as much as the playing itself.


Will there be family disharmony after you are gone 1

Okay nobody likes talking about the end. But the reality is we are all human, we are all born and we all die. There is an end to your time here on earth in the body you currently have, in the life you are living, surrounded by the stuff you use. We don’t know when that end will come, it can be sooner than we expected or we can live a long time. But at this point we will not live forever.

Anyone that knows me knows, I am not afraid to talk about the hard stuff. I have seen too many families ignore the hard conversations while someone is alive, then they have to deal with making decisions after a loved one is gone while emotions are running high. I have seen families fight, split apart and hold grudges for YEARS all over ‘things’. It makes me sad. I want to shout IT IS JUST STUFF! But to them the stuff represents so much more.

I understand that the things represent more than the material matter they are made of. They represent the loss of a loved one, they represent control of a situation, they represent holding on, they represent feeling respected, they represent being connected and they represent thousands of other feelings and emotions too.

I implore you today, to think about who will be left after you are gone, what will be left after you are gone and how you can reduce family disharmony over your stuff before it happens.

Here are a few tips to get you started:

#1 TALK TO THEM – I know this sounds simple but it amazes me how many people cannot have this conversation. I know it can be hard, but if you have an open and honest conversation about what they may want, what you want them to have, who gets what…it can save a lot of heartache later.

#2 WRITE IT DOWN – Write letters to those that will be left behind, let them know in writing what your wishes are and lovingly ask them to respect and love each other through the hard times. Written words can be powerful!

#3 LABEL THINGS - Have labels on bigger things, so when your ‘stuff’ is being cleared out, they will know who gets what according to your wishes. Just don’t make them take stuff they do not want…make it their choice please, ask before you label!

#4 MAKE THEM PLAY – if siblings or other family members cannot come to an agreement over who gets what, leave them instructions that they must play a game to see who gets it. Rock, paper, scissors works well and can break the tension.

#5 DON’T HAVE A LOT OF STUFF – You know I had to add this one in, right? Living simplistically and reducing what you have now will make it so much easier for family to settle after. Less stuff, means less stuff to fight about.

The loss of a loved one is always an emotional time, it brings out the best and worst in us. Family disharmony is commom, too common for my liking. Setting the stage and opening communication early in life makes dealing with a sad loss so much easier. Encouraging our loved ones to support and work with each other during that sad time, instead of against each other, leaves a legacy of love and understanding that far outreaches the ‘STUFF’ left behind.

You are NOT your stuff…ensure today that your family know that!

Xox Kim

build your team

I just spend the weekend as one of the hosts for The National AGM for Business & Professional Women Canada here in my hometown of Moncton. It was a LOT of work but thanks to a great team we pulled off a successful weekend with lots of learning and fun. It would not have been nearly as successful if we had not worked as a team and all pulled together to get things done.


This got me to thinking about how we run our lives.  So many of us tend to make ourselves responsible for everything, even when we have people around who could help if we just asked, expected and well a little training has to happen too. 

You don't have to do it all. You do not have to be responsible for everything. You do not have to be the keeper of ALL information. It’s time to spread the fun and let others take over some of the overwhelm.

Asking for help, delegating tasks and letting others take on some responsibility is important so you don't burn yourself out. It is also important in developing others, allowing them to help you can help them feel respected and worthwhile. Who are you to deny them that.


I am not just talking at work here, I am talking in your life. Delegate tasks at home too. Hire a housekeeper to clean those toilets, get the family involved, teach them to do their own laundry, let others cook for you, let the mess in their rooms go - shut the doors and keep going, make them do the dishes, unload the dishwasher. It is amazing how capable our families are if we let them and expect them to help. The trick is to not expect them to do it your way. Done is better than perfect. Assign the task, give some general guidance if needed and let it go. 

We do not have to do it all...Build your team and allow others to help you.


I could never have done all the work for this past weekend’s event without my team at home so I did not worry about a thing there and the amazing team of gals who help throughout the weekend. Together we are strong, together we can do more & together we have more fun too! 


Who are the key players on your team? Is it time to add more team members? Is it time to ask for help?

If decluttering and getting organized is something you are looking for help with join my Clutter Support Group on facebook or as always contact me to set up a chat about how I can help you as your own personal clutter coach.

Kim

www.ClutterSupportGroup.com

downsizing takes a toll on your emotions 1People often underestimate the toll that decluttering and downsizing can have on their emotions.  Don’t be fooled into thinking that it is an easy task because others tell you it should be - ‘just let it go’, ‘just get rid of it’, they say.  Well, I am here to tell you that it does not work that way.  Even if you are ready and willing to let go of your stuff, even if you have made the decision that it is time to reduce what you own, even if you have a strong why and lots of excitement about what comes next in your life…even when you are totally prepared and ready to do it…It will still take an emotional toll on you as you go through the process. Some will be affected a lot more than others, but in my experience everyone has moments that their emotions get the better of them.

Going through your stuff piece by piece is a grueling task even for the seasoned ‘declutterer’.  Knowing you have to downsize your stuff and making decision, after decision, after decision about what stays and what goes, adds up to a lot of emotional energy.  At some point that energy can get depleted, emotions rubbed raw and reactions happen!  Be patient with yourself and others as you go through this process, allow for some time to decompress when you feel the need.  Allow the emotions to come, honour them, feel them and then deal with them the best you can.

Taking a break during the grueling process can help, taking a step away to regroup so you can prepare to keep going.

TRY:

  • Going for a walk to get some fresh air

  • Work out at the gym to burn off any excess stress

  • Get out of the house and treat yourself to nice dinner out

  • Take an evening off and watch some mindless TV – preferably a good comedy or feel good show.

  • Connect with others- Come to our Clutter Support Facebook group to get some inspiration and support to keep you going www.ClutterSupportGroup.com

Our stuff has physical connections with our emotions - letting go, no matter how ready you are, will trigger some pain, regret and sadness.  Be okay with that, be prepared for that, be real with that and keep moving forward with less!

Here to support you through the process,

Kim

HOW MANY MEMORIES ARE ENOUGH 300x300We store a lot of our memories in stuff. A LOT OF STUFF! Which translates into a lot of memories. So how many memories are enough?

When we think of items that have memories we often think about the pictures, the little ornament or magnet we bought on a trip, the family heirlooms that have been passed down. But in actuality everything we own has a memory attached to it. Where it came from, who bought it, why we bought it, what purpose it has played in our life, how long it has been around, etc.

I am writing on this topic because I had a bit of a trigger last night making supper. I have a strainer that I bought at this cute little kitchen store in New Hampshire when my husband and I were on our 20th anniversary trip (6 years ago)…it’s a strainer…used to drain pasta & wash veggies…nothing magical, kind a cool as it collapses, but still just a strainer...yet it has a memory attached to it. It started to fall apart and get yucky awhile ago, I have a new one that I use, yet I hesitated throwing it out. Why? Because it was attached to a good memory! (See even professional declutter experts can get emotionally attached to memories and things) I know that the memory of that trip will not go away because the strainer does, and I know that all the memories of us using the strainer are not that important to keep in the overall scheme of life…it has fulfilled its purpose for us and its time to recycle it.

There are lots of things in our life we don’t think too much about the story, until it is time to declutter and let it go…then the memories and stories come flooding back…the fry pan you got when you moved into your first apartment, the dress you wore to the Christmas party in 1998, the wine glasses someone gave you for Christmas 20 years ago… all these things have stories…some more emotional than others but attachment comes from the stories and memories we have of these ‘things’. We may not have used them or looked at them in decades but when it comes to making the decision to let it go…the memories come flooding back and we hesitate, because we do not want to lose the memory.

We have decades’ worth of experiences and memories all rolled up into the stuff that surrounds us. Pictures, mementoes, towels, clothing, appliances, dishes, tools, etc…you name it and we have a story about it.

The question is how many memories are enough? What memories are the most important to keep? How much of this stuff attached to these memories do we actually need to keep? When it comes time to part, can you be okay with living with the memory and not the thing? And if the memory is lost with the item…can you live without it? Do you really need to keep ALL those memories, and do you have room in your brain for them all…and still have room for new ones?

How many memories are enough?

Will the world come to an end if you let go of some of those memories? The experiences you had, the time you spend with that stuff, will still be inside of you, will still be part of you past…but does it have to take up so much space, that there is no room for the future?

Here are some clues on when it might be time to declutter the old memories and make room in your life for new ones

- If you are tripping over stuff when walking through your home – and you don’t have a toddler living there…It might be time to declutter!

- If you regularly come into contact with things in your home that make you feel angry, sad or any other negative emotion…It might be time to declutter!

- If you have cupboards stuffed full of things that you never use and don’t really need… It might be time to declutter!

- If your counters are stacked full of items that have no home, because all your space is already taken…it might be time to declutter!

- If you have storage rooms or storage units full of boxes of stuff that you have not looked at or touched in years… It might be time to declutter!

- If you find you are constantly frustrated with your space, overwhelmed with all the things coming at you and your brain is ready to explode…it might be time to declutter!

If you are ready to declutter and release some of those old memories, come join our Kaos Solutions Facebook Group to get the support you need. We are here to help you through the chaos of decluttering and downsizing your stuff.

Hope to see you there!

Kim